Home>Highlight>GOP lawsuit to N.J. congressional map now includes questions about Princeton Gerrymandering Project

Former Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. (Photo: Brown & Connery).

GOP lawsuit to N.J. congressional map now includes questions about Princeton Gerrymandering Project

Republicans tell Supreme Court that Sam Wang’s group, funded by Democrats, lack independence to advise tiebreaker John Wallace

By David Wildstein, February 02 2022 5:01 pm

Alleging that the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s ties to major Democratic donors and their refusal to disclose algorithms used to calculate the competitiveness of House districts, Republicans are asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to invalidate the congressional redistricting map approved in December.

The Republican members of the panel amended a lawsuit filed with the New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday to include an additional count of their complaint: that the presence of the Sam Wang-led group as staff to court-selected independent tiebreaker John E. Wallace, Jr. breached their duty of independence and confidentiality.

The lawsuit cites a New Jersey Globe report that the Princeton University group was being financed by people who had contributed over $200 million to Democratic candidates nationally, included four New Jersey congressional incumbents whose political futures were dependent upon the map Wallace approved late last year.

Under a court order to “amplify” his reasons for choosing the Democratic map, Wallace reported that he used data provided to him privately by the Princeton team to determine partisan fairness.   But the outside group has not revealed their formula, claiming it is proprietary.

“Because of the PGP’s financial support from Democratic sources, and the PGP’s apparent breaching of confidentiality with respect to the Republican delegation’s redistricting map, it is evident that the data in which Chair Wallace attempts to rely in his amplification statement is from tainted sources,” the amended GOP complaint states.

The Republican lawyers, Matthew Moench and Michael Collins, said that they were not provided a copy of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s data.

They said that because of the “taint to the data” that Wallace used, it can’t be relied on affirm the decision.

Citing another New Jersey Globe report that a staffer from the Princeton group gave Democrats feedback on a Republican map, Republicans claim that Wallace’s staff broke a pledge of confidentiality that “neither delegation’s map would be provided to the other delegation.”

Now, Republicans want the Supreme Court to find that there is a constitutional requirement of independence and reverse the December 22 vote to approve the Democratic map.

They also want the court to order the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to “produce all data relevant to Chair Wallace’s amplification statement,” and order Wallace to end his use of the group as his advisors if the map is remanded back to the commission.

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